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Iran Dissident Cleric’s Son Arrested

December 10, 2000 GMT

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ A son of Iran’s most prominent dissident cleric has been arrested for distributing his father’s memoirs, his brother said Sunday.

Saeed Montazeri made 100 photocopies of the 1,600-page book, which describes the political life of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, according to Saeed’s brother, Ahmad Montazeri.

Saeed Montazeri was arrested by security officials last Wednesday ``on the order of the Special Clergy Court after he photocopied and secretly distributed the memoirs,″ Ahmad Montazeri told The Associated Press.

Saeed Montazeri, 37, who was injured and lost an eye and ear in the 1980-88 war with Iraq, was being detained in Qom, but no charges have been brought against him, his brother said.

The elder Montazeri, who is 79, has been under house arrest in Qom since 1997. He has a large following, and his views on religion are respected by many Shiite Muslims around the world. He was designated to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, but his liberal views caused him to fall out of favor a few months before Khomeini died of cancer in 1989.

In November 1997, Hossein Ali Montazeri was publicly repudiated after he questioned the legitimacy of rule by the clergy, including Iran’s hard-line spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Khomeini.

Khamenei accused Montazeri of treason and, days later, hard-liners attacked Montazeri’s home and office in Qom, about 80 miles southwest of the capital, Tehran.

Khamenei has complete control over the military and security forces in Iran, and his authority is unquestioned.